(WP) Is Russian President Vladimir Putin trying to engineer a frozen conflict in Eastern Ukraine? That’s what some observers argue: that the main goal of sending troops there is to create permafrost, much like what Russia has going in Transdnistria, Moldova, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia.
Those conflicts have been described as “a string of nasty small wars [that] have been settled not through peace deals but simply by freezing each side’s positions.” Neither side can win a decisive victory. And so the nasty little war eventually freezes into long-term suspended animation: The dispute remains but fighting ceases. […]
As Kramer writes: This unexpected [overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych] alarmed the Putin administration, raising fears that the Ukrainian revolution might inspire forces in Russia to think about doing the same. … At a minimum, the Russian authorities wanted to use the opportunity to seize Crimea and to adopt measures that would destabilize and humiliate the new Ukrainian government, making clear to the Russian public the undesirability and high costs of mass upheavals. […]
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